English UK campaigning reveals good news on Labour VAT plans
21 February 2024

English UK campaigning reveals good news on Labour VAT plans  

English UK's public affairs team has been campaigning for several months on the risk posed to the sector if Labour's policy to impose VAT on private school fees affected language centres.  

We are delighted by the answer our members in Sir Keir Starmer's London constituency got to a letter we had drafted for them about the proposal.  

The reply from the Labour leader's office said: 

"Labour's policy would charge VAT on fees for registered independent schools. English language schools, if not registered as independent schools with the Department of Education, would not be affected." 

Risk averted 

We believe the risk of VAT being applied has now been averted for most ELT schools, which is excellent news. Both English UK members and international agents had expressed concerns about the consequences if VAT was imposed.  

English UK's public affairs team had spent several months trying to get answers on the scope of Labour's VAT proposal. They warned Labour frontbenchers of the unintended consequences of including the English language teaching sector in any changes. Our efforts included meetings with influential Labour MPs and a letter-writing campaign by members in Labour constituencies.

Thank you to our members 

We are very grateful to our members in Holborn and St Pancras, including Ben Toettcher of SKOLA English in London and Sue Rao of ABC School of English, who sent our letter to Sir Keir's office and shared the good news about the response.  

This clearly shows the value of members campaigning alongside the public affairs team. MPs are obliged to respond to their constituents but not to trade associations like English UK.  

With a general election on the way, we are likely to ask members for more of this type of help. 

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